Medical Questions > Mental Health > Panic Attacks Forum

Alone At Night = Extreme Panic

Hi There,

I am a 27 year old Accounting professional, And I am haunted by a problem that I am embarrassed to admit... but maybe you good people could help me shed some light on my problem.

I cannot handle being alone at night, even in my own house.. When I was younger (16-17) My parents would allow me to stay at home alone overnight if they were going to a hockey tournament or something I wasn't interested in. I then found out that as soon as it gets dark outside I am terrified of being alone, Even if I have every light in the house on.
I cannot sleep until the sun rises.

Even To this day if my Boyfriend is on night shift I am terrified, I try to go to bed when it is still nice and light out and sleep through it but If I wake up and it is dark out I have a full on panic attack my heart races and I am so tired I drift in and out and when I realize I am sleeping I freak out and wake up in a panic, I don't know what I am afraid of.

Or why I am so terrified, When someone is home I can walk around at night even with the lights off no problem, But When I am alone I feel like something is going to happen to me.. I am not afraid when it is light outside only at night

This problem is really effecting my life negatively I don't know if this has ever happened to anyone else or why I have these fears but I would love some insight


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First Helper thatSLAYERchick

replied July 12th, 2007
Experienced User
I don't have this problem in my home but I can't leave my house alone at night for this reason. I won't go out to my car or walk my dog if I don't have to. I don't know where this came from, I am 27 too and I remember going out with friends years ago and coming home at all hours late at night and having no issues with going to my car by myself and coming in my home late at night. I too fear something will happen to me. No one in my family knows about this problem that I have because I have so many other issues with panic attacks that I won't tell them. I find though that staying at home at night is a little nerve wracking but definitely not as bad as going out in the dark. Do you have a pet? Maybe a dog? I feel so much better when I am with my dog in my house at night alone...maybe that would be an option so that you wouldn't feel so alone. I got mine because I like having a little friend with me all the time...
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replied July 12th, 2007
I am 33 and I too am affraid to be alone at home lone at night and always have been well at least since I moved out of my parents place at 19. I hate it can not sleep heart races and I tihink such horrible things. I rarely if ever sleep when my husband goes away for the week end even though my children are inthe house. My children are very young so I am there protector. Sometimes I can get sleep if I sleep with the girls or if they are at theor grandmas and I am alone all lights are on doors locked soemtimes I even over react and I will block the doors with a chair tilt under it so no one can open it from outside. But what helps sometimes when I am alone is to put the TV on the tree house channel or tele toon so it is happy talk or so I like to call it. Then I get some sleep. Allergic to animals so that is not an option for me although we have fish 2 55 gallon tanks 45 gallon 2 20 gallon and a 10 gallon all working and all filled with fishies. I do talk to them and they seem to love it because I can go close to the tank and they all come to see me and I do not feel them as I am alleric to their food. I have tryed to talk to my phycalogist but am a little embarest about being affraid when there is nothing to be affraid of. I have had a lot of bad things happen to me and it makes some sense as to why I have this fear but had fear even before any of those bad things happened to me. Hope some of my coping things will give you some ideas
take care
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replied July 17th, 2007
taykare -

Thank You for your reply, I know how hard it is to cope with sleepless nights when you have to be up early the next morning. I too agree that there is nothing to be afraid of, I have never had a traumatic experience my house has never been broken into... Even if I block the doors then I have awful thoughts about something already being inside with me. I am an intelligent individual and having these fears to me is ridiculous, I will try watching the treehouse channel thanks again.

womaninpain- Thank you also for your response.. I am un-able to have a Dog because I live in an apartment but even when I do house/dog sit for my parents with their Dog in the house I still am unable to sleep if I am alone. Sorry to hear about your panic disorders, I know how emotionally draining and physically painful they are. Thanks again

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replied July 25th, 2007
I know thaat logic sometimes makes us think that our fears are ridiculous but they are not something is bothering you right to your core. I just got out of the hospital a day a go when was there was a affraid when they turned the lights down anddd off in my room I shared. I was so affraid that I was trebling and to tell you the truth I have no idea what I was so affraid of there. Yes you a veery smart woman but that does not make a fear less I think all it does is make it harder to reliize just that . You proably feel like me "why am i shaking there is nothing here, nobody is in the house, your fine" and things right after that are "i am stupid. cry baby, if i call one of friends then they will think I am a nut." Sometimes for trying to get throough a moment like that I do deep breathing take a big breath then as slow as you can release it. If I feel somethingmaybe in the I pray to God to get rid of that being and protect from harm. Believe it or not this one works the BEST. that is a personal choice. sorry did not answer earlier I was in the hospital for awhile. Back now until my surgeries 1 in August 2 in Sept and maybe another 1 not sure yet
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replied April 22nd, 2010
Hi There,

I know that this is quite late but I am wondering if you have an update. I am 23 and I have to exact same problem. Reading your post was like I had written it.
Did you find or do anything that helped?

I look forward to hearing from you.
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replied June 13th, 2010
Hi guys

I am a counselling psychologist but I had suffered from panic disorder too. I used to have full blown panic attacks when i was home alone, day and night and this occured after a sad event. Being a therapist I am aware that these horrible experiences are due to unconscious and intrapsychic conflict and many times they have nothing to do with logic and intelligence. I would advice you to see a therapist and be open about it, it is an extremely frightening experience in itself and it is sad to exacerbate it by being ashamed or embarassed about it. I have found that most of the attacks are due to fears of abandonement, guilt about something or repressed anger. All of these situations require extensive analysis, understanding and patience in order to resolve them. You are not alone-everybody fears something.

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replied June 17th, 2010
Fear of Being Alone
I have a fear of this too. I am a 22 year old panic disorder sufferer. My fear of being alone however is more aimed at dying or passing out when alone. I fear that when I'm alone something may happen and no one would know because they weren't home to see it. Just tonight even, I am left alone all night because everyone is out of town. I had probably the worst panic attack I ever had and called my mom on the phone in hysterics. I wasn't making much sense because of the sheer terror. I just fear death and being sick. I feel helpless when I am sick and alone, like I'll pass out and no one would be there to help me. Its really scaring me.

I can't even take a shower easily if I know no one is at home. I fear I will pass out or die in the shower and be found dead and naked when they get home Sad. It's ruining my life. I have agoraphobia as well. I have to call my mother or someone when I have these attacks because the only thing that seems to calm me down at all is hearing someone talk to me.
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replied June 24th, 2010
Panic Disorder
Hi everyone,
I am 17yo and have panic disorder. I am on medication and have a psychiatrist who is absolutely amazing. I would just like to say that all of you are extremely brave and there is no need at all to feel embarrassed about this, it could be a lot worse so you need to start thinking positively! This is treatable and it isn't a lifelong illness! It only will be if you don't take responsibility and get help. There is help available, trust me. I pray to god when I'm having a panic attack, please let me get through this and I always do - remember no one has EVER died of a panic attack, EVER!!

Also, this poem I found on another poem that was written by a woman who suffers anxiety is so amazing and I can't even begin to explain how comforting it is for me. (It's long but it's worth reading!!!)


Not only can I tell you how to survive panic attacks
I can tell you how to stop them
Having suffered panic disorder for over a decade
I know a lot of things that help
And a lot of things that bring them on
But only one thing that can stop them
The one common denominator in all
Is you
For it is you who brings them on
And you who ends them
Nobody has the power to do this
except you
The biggest thing that brings them on
Is fear
So many things can trigger them
So we curb chocolate, caffeine and nicotine
Learned positive thought replacement
To exchange the dark thoughts for loving thoughts
To focus on the positive
We stop the future hypothetical negatives like the âspam�what ifâspam�sâspam
And the overly-reflective negatives in the âspam�I should haveâspam�sâspam
Embraced healthy boundaries in relationships
So that chronic abuse ends
And learned to rest
To encourage ourselves in our thought life
And to under react
To understand that if we feel we cannot breathe
It is only because we are merely forgetting to exhale
And so we count our slow exhales
But still we are plagued by panic
So we still feared them
And they came
Again and again
year after year
Crippling us in our social lives
and in our thought lives
The drugs
Our only true physical defense
From the terrors of the panic
So we thought
Never quite realizing the power of our own mind
The true trigger
And the true cure
The stronger our minds
The harder the panic hits
And the Bible says
Be transformed by the renewing of your mind
And that the truth will set you free
To let our minds dwell on whatever is lovely
And worthy of praise
The key you ask?
What is the key in ending panic attacks
It is not wise to indefinitely end them
To make friends with them I heard once long, long ago
Is the best way to end their disorder
But how can you love what terrorizes you?
This is how
Panic attacks were given to protect you
Not to harm you
What God gave to protect you cannot harm you
This is why no one has ever died of a panic attack
Panic attacks come to rescue you
They come to help you
To give you strength
To help you fight an enemy
They are not your enemy
They are your friend
They are your most faithful friend
For it is they who come to you
Every time you are afraid
Even if you are alone
They come even without you asking
For they understood your fear
And believed you called them
For without knowing
In your fear
You called them
And when you are afraid
They always come
Because they come to help you
they come to rescue you
and to give you strength
your blood they gather
from your hands and feet
though it makes them feel a little cold
to bring to your torso
to save your vital organs
and from your head, too
making you feel lightheaded
to help alleviate mental stress
and all that rushes into your torso
to save your life
this physical phenomenon
though it makes you tremble
and feel sick to your stomach
in both directions
it is to save your life
it cannot harm you
for thousands upon thousands of years
it is your savior
your rescuer
Whatever you focus on will grow
If you focus on the fear
The fear will grow
If you focus on the symptoms
The symptoms will grow
Focus on the fact that they help you
Learn to accept the truth about them
That they are your faithful friend
They are your strength in time of need
Learn to appreciate them
And to love them
And to welcome them
For this is the truth
They are your friend
And when you need them
And you feel them coming
With great excitement
Greet them
And say come !!!
Come because you are my help
Come because you are here to rescue me
And to protect me
And have confidence in the strength they will give you
In ever a time of need
And when you find that they have come too quickly
It is because you called them
They hunt you not
It is you they serve
You they wish to protect
They love you
And they listen to you
Far more than you have learned to listen to yourself
They came because they want to protect you
So gently
With love and thankfulness
Say with smiles in your heart
Thank you for coming my beloved friend
To help me
But Iâspam�m okay
I assure you my dear protector
That I need you not right now
And I laugh at how much you love me
And I love you for thinking of me
And for caring about me
And for being there for me
But Iâspam�m okay
And they will understand
That you do not need them right now
And they will go away
Because it was the fear that called them
And because you will no longer fear them
The fear will fade
The fear you felt
They could not understand
Was fear of them
Because they are part of you
Because you are the master
And they are your devoted slave
They did not understand
That it was they you feared
But that fear they felt
Like fuel to their fire
They felt your fear
And they came strong like an army
To help you fight
They did not understand
They could not understand
That the fear was of them
So this be the lesson
Fear not
But when fear comes
Fear not your helper
These the panic attacks
For they are your deliverer
Your rescuer
They came only to help you
And when you learn they are friend
Not foe
They will not come again
Until you call them
Because they came
Only to help you
When you were afraid
This because
they love you
and so love them, too
and when the fire runs through your body
as their army rushes in and through your veins
feel their warmth as loving hugs
as warm embraces from your friend

I wish you all the best and I know you will all get through this hard time and become stronger because of it. Yes, it sucks but it's life and it's worth living.

I have another one for the woman who fears death:


If there is a heaven, I believe I will go there
If reincarnation exists, I will return in a new body
If there is nothing after death, I have nothing to be afraid of

Good luck everyone! Love Sarah Jade
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replied December 25th, 2010
Please Help
Hi you,

I'm 25 and have the exact same problem. I simply cannot be alone in the flat at all. I'm currently staying at my partner's place while he's away with his family. I was meant to stay with my family in Berlin but my passport had recently expired and I wasn't able to travel through the Netherlands. (I cannot go by plane because I have a chinchilla who accompanies me.) He was unable to change his flight and now I am stuck in the flat by myself and haven't been able to sleep for the past two nights. I catch up during the day mostly but I can't function well and I am always anxious and tense. I went to the hospital at 5am this morning and they gave me diazepam to calm me down. I will take it tonight and hopefully be able to rest. I find it strange since I like the flat and usually am comfortable being here. Just can't seem to bear it by myself. I cried all of last night and am unable to relax or get rid of my feelings of terror. I'm really scared of having to try to go to sleep tonight. I have the same strange sense that something is inside with me. I actually tend to feel safer when I go out but it's cold and dark and I think I'd feel pretty stupid just wandering the local streets all night. I have managed to stay alone in the past but this time I just feel thrown into the situation since it wasn't planned and I had no time to mentally prepare myself. I feel I really need help and was wondering if anyone knows a good coping strategy that will make it easier to bear. Please, I'm just so scared...
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replied June 2nd, 2011
im 16 and honestly i cant handle these panic attacks. i dont even understand why this is happening to me. and it only happens when im going to bed. i pray. but i hear every noise loud and it freaks me out, i start to forget to breath,and i feel sick to my stomach like if someting bad is going to happen, and then my body gets all hot. ugh im desperate for this to go away.when i start fallling assleep then some weird feeling runs through my body and it panics me. & continues.
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replied August 21st, 2011
A survivor of nighttime anxiety and panic attacks
@californiagirllove- I know exactly how you feel. I am 21 and I first started having a few panic attacks (although I did not know what they were at the time) when I was about 12. They went away after a few weeks and then came back two years ago when I was a sophomore in college with terrifying regularity and severity.

I felt antsy when it was time to go to bed and I tried to jokingly make reasons why my roommates should stay up just a little longer with me. How about one more movie? A game of cards? When they all went to bed I was left to lay alone and feel my breathing increase and my heart squeeze in my chest. I had to go to the bathroom repeatedly because my stomach hurt and I couldn't stop myself from crying. What made it the worst was that I had to try to cry and suffer in silence because I did not want to wake my roomie and I was embarassed. In the end, my roomie was a blessing sent from God- she heard me crying and it turned out that she had had a history of panic attacks and knew what was happening to me. Part of the terror for me was that I did not know why I felt this way and I did not know that was what was happening. She stayed up with me all night and held me until it was morning and my parents came to take me to the doctor. I spent about 10 hours shaking so hard my teeth rattled and crying hysterically over what I thought was nothing. It was without a doubt the worst night of my life and one that I desperately hope to save you from having to experience.

I have since tried anti-anxiety meds til I had the symptoms under control and then I weaned myself off so I would not get addicted. I went to see my school counselor and it was the best decision I ever made. Do not ever be embarassed about your condition and do not ever stop yourself from seeking comfort because you feel some stigma attached to therapy. He helped me to realize that repressed feelings of guilt and stress were causing my attacks and together we came up with many great coping strategies. I have not had a full-blown panic attack in over a year now. I had to remove some stressors from my life and learn to love me and think about myself before others sometimes. I had to let go of regrets. And when I left the therapist's office I felt light as air just because I talked to someone who understood and did not judge me in any way.

Go find out if your school offers free counseling, most do. It will be the most important step on the road to recovery. Even as I write this, it is getting towards bedtime and I felt twinges of anxiety when my roomie went to bed and I was left the last one awake in here. But I know how to rationally eliminate all of my irrational concerns now and I have confidence that I will be ok and I have friends I can call anytime if it gets to be too much. This may be the most important tool of all.

I too find comfort in praying to God for comfort and protection and I hope you have a faith that you can turn to in times of need. I hope that this message finds you and helps you in your struggle. Remember that you are not even close to being alone in this. As I started losing my embarassment and spoke to my friends about this, I discovered that all but one or two of them has suffered a panic attack at one point or another, some severely and chronically. We now help each other and try to share the knowledge we have to others who are too afraid to talk about it. Remember that you are in charge of your fears and you can overcome them, this does not have to go on forever.

God bless!

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replied June 18th, 2012
Hello all panic sufferers, I am a 47 year old male who has never had a single problem ever in my life, and suddenly, WHAP!! I get horrible panic attacks when I am alone at night.
I found a couple things help, one is sleeping pills, over the counter benedryl for allergies is the main ingredient, so I take two (2) 25mg Benedryl generic pills before bed, they usually help me sleep all night, the other thing is I cut out ALL caffeine in my diet, it helped a ton!! I have much less attacks now but still get them.
The other things I do is call the SHoppping networks on TV, I feel great and normal 100% panic free if I can jsut TALK to a person, usually I even tell them I am sorry to call their number it was the only one I could find with a real person and I was having a panic attack, could I jsut talk for a minute? they always say sure thing and even when I try to buy something to pay for tying them up they wont let me. QVC and Others are good people willing to help another person in need,
Then another thing I did was find a PANIC BUDDY! I kept searching online and on chat rooms and found a couple people that live far enough away from me that the middle of my night is their daytime, and when I wake up panic striken I SKYPE or WEBCAM or jsut CALL them and chat a little, a few people I am now friends with didnt even know I first contacted them because I needed to talk to someone.
I tried help lines but they all think you are suicidal and I'm not, just freaking out!
ANother thing you can do is call any stores that are open 24 HRS, like gas stations or super markets, mini markts, diners, and jsut ask them about their sale flyer, their menu, if I can talk to someone for even 5 mimnutes my panic attack is about over, it comes back when I hang up but not as bad.
good luck, you are NOT alone!! we are all in this together!!
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replied July 2nd, 2012
I recently moved out of home for the first time and my panic attacks have worsened. My doc changed my meds to Vensir XL 75mg. I have pain in my right shoulder when I have my attacks and get dizzy. Recently I find I am having hot sweats and feel my heart fluttering. I dont know what to do.
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replied February 29th, 2016
I have the same problem i am a 20 year old female still living with my parents and older brother. However, on one occasion, my brother moved out and parents went away for a long weekend. I have a dog and was fine until one night and incident happened out the front of my house which entailed me having to call the police etc. I didn't sleep that night and had a massive panic attack (not knowing what that was what it was). During the day i was fine, but come 6/7pm i went downhill. I got a friend to stay with me and still suffered from a panic attack.
It is very strange for me cause on numerous occasions i mind family's pets and houses and stay there on my own and am fine. I know the underlying issue is from the incident cause whenever someone yelled in my street after that it sent me into a panic attack. I have since been better, but my parents are away again for a longer period of time. This time my brother is home, but not until later at night.
I am struggling to stay calm and just wondering if anyone can help me to deal with this. I have spoken to my doctor and talking it out with her really helped and when i speak to my mum during a panic attack she can really help me calm down, but i can't manage to do it on my own. I just need some tips to help me relax and get some sleep.

Sorry for ranting and such a long reply but typing it out has distracted me haha
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User Profile
replied March 2nd, 2016
I guess you are scared of darkness or do you have any fobia? Do you remember exactly when you had your first panic attack and what has happened just before it? Maybe you can find the answer yourself... anic_attack
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replied March 9th, 2016
Try to convey yourself that it just irrational fear when ever you start to feel. One thing that help me a lot is start singing kids songs during the anxiety attacks. Also, consult nutritionist regarding some food you eat or drinks you take. More time spend outside among people or in nature. I had same issue few years back, right after college and I star using some supplements to the food. But like I said, what help me the most is myself. One day after panic attack I was so angry that I screamed `this has to stop` because it was not just the stress, anxiety, lack of sleep, no it actually start to be annoyed. You`re not alone, there are many young people with same problem
Take it easy - live is stupid sometimes, but it still beautiful thing to have! Smile
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